Congratulations on being accepted, make sure to celebrate your achievement! 🥳
You're probably itching to get started, so here are some practical things to do in advance. It's a busy course, so you'll want to make sure you're ready to hit the ground running once it starts!
Set up your work space
You're going to be spending a lot of time here! I found I was getting a lot a neck pain being hunched over my laptop all of the time, so I recommend investing in a comfortable desk chair and a monitor screen.
You'll have a lot of lectures on Zoom during the course, so make sure you're set up with a webcam and that your space has good light, so that your classmates will be able to see you properly! You could also use this time to test out that your camera/microphone are working.
If you don't already have a laptop, I'd recommend that now is the time to get one. A desktop works too, but having a laptop has enabled me to easily log in to my lectures whilst on holidays etc. It also means I can bring it into school when on placement or subbing. I've seen some people using iPads as well, so that might work for you. I personally wouldn't, as laptops have more functionality for me - particularly when it comes to making resources etc.
I've found having a whiteboard beside my desk to be really useful. The course is very self-directed, so it's important you get into the habit of planning your days - otherwise it's very easy for things to start piling up! I use my whiteboard to write out my plan for the day.
Get ready for subbing
I personally decided not to do any subbing until I had done my first placement. I wouldn't have felt confident enough before, and I didn't want to make a bad impression at any school as a result! However, some people in my group decided to dive in the deep end and just go for it. Either way, you most likely will do some subbing over the course of your masters.
To get ready for subbing you'll need to apply for your teaching council number - this can take quite a while, so there's no harm doing it now.
You can also start preparing a subbing bag, you can get some great ideas of what to keep in this by looking at instagram.
Organise school placement
You can read about what to include in your placement application here.
It's recommend to get in touch with schools as soon as possible, to give yourself the best chance of getting the school you want. You likely won't be able to email schools before the course started, as you won't have all the details, but you can make a start by doing the following:
Make a spreadsheet of the schools you're going to contact
Write your Cover Letter (template here)
Write your CV (template here)
Buy essential items
People can get a bit carried away with this! I don't know about you but, after paying all that money to do the PME, I didn't want to spend more than needed - there'll be plenty of future costs over the course, in terms of resource materials etc, so pace yourself!
Here's some of my essentials:
Academic diary / planner
Lever arch folders - I use one folder per module
Plastic folder wallets
Index tabs - helps me to easily categorise documents as lecture notes, session notes or sample lesson plans, in my folders
Get digitally organised
Tidy up your laptop: Organise your desktop, go through your downloads, documents etc.
Organise your Google Drive: Make a teaching folder, you are going to live in here during the course and beyond!
Download the curriculum documents and teacher guidelines. Upload them to your Google Drive. You can download them all here 👉https://www.curriculumonline.ie/Primary/ (Tip: You can also try finding hardcopies of them by asking on instagram or teaching Facebook groups. They're not in print anymore, but it makes a world of difference having them in hardcopy form!)
Bookmark these useful sites:
curriculum documents & teacher guidelines
Blooms taxonomy: for lesson planning
Referencing tool: for generating essay references
PDST: go-to place for lesson ideas, best practice videos etc.
Join social media
Instagram can be a get source of ideas and help. There's a lot of teacher pages out there, so make sure to follow the ones relevant to you. Maybe other teachers who are doing/have done the same course as you.
You can also make your own page, it's a great way to track your journey and keep a record of ideas, lessons etc.
Twitter is also a great place for professional engagement. I find it's one of my main sources for keeping up-to-date with what's happening in the land of teaching!